Welcome !

Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Keeping Love in Lent: Bands of Love



"I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”





Bands of Love

 by:  Heidi Knofczynski

My post is not about a family Lenten plan, we have several traditions - simple Stations of the Cross that are hand drawn on paper plates which we hang around our family room, the kids have only cold lunches and give the money they save to the rice bowl collection at their school along with various other effort at sacrifices and good deeds.  All of these things can sometimes feel like they are not worth the effort, especially when the children are arguing during your nightly stations of the cross, I often wonder what they could even be getting out of it.  But the Lord works in our chaos, but above all, I have learned that, as a mother of 8, I cannot even begin to get my children to carry out their Lenten sacrifices and good works with great love if I am not in touch with the love that is the center of all good things.  I need to reconnect in a deeper way with the Lord during Lent.  

So Lent, for me, is a time to consider where I am pushing God away, and why.  It can be long and dreary, giving up small pleasures for a time in the hopes of expelling vice and cultivating virtue.  I personally find that the story of Hosea, strengthens my personal resolve to journey with Jesus into what Lent is, a love story.

This is why I love the book of Hosea.  The story of his love for his faithless wife, and the pain that he goes through in enduring her infidelity, until he is forced to divorce her, is powerful.  It is, of course, the story of the Israelites, especially those in the northern kingdom, who mingled their worship of God with the worship of Baal.  They would very soon be taken off into exile by the Assyrians who would execute the “divorce” of Israel for their adultery with the Canaanite deities. And it is our own story, because we all struggle with various false gods who threaten our relationship with the Lord.  But God’s ways are not man’s ways, so that is not the end of the story. And once espoused to the Lord, always espoused to Him. In incurring God’s wrath and enduring their exile the Children of Israel have stirred His pity.

How could I give you up, O Ephraim, or deliver you up, O Israel? ... My heart is overwhelmed, my pity is stirred.   I will not give vent to my blazing anger, I will not destroy Ephraim again; For I am God not man, the Holy One present among you; I will not let the flames consume you.  Hosea 11:8-9

Listen to how tenderly the Lord speaks to us.  Listen to how protective He is. How fiercely he love us. We, who are so easily distracted from prayer, from silence, from knowing the God who loves us so passionately.  I know that for myself one of the things that I am trying to resist this Lent is the urge to turn something on when I feel a bit restless.  Whether it be the TV, ITunes (love to play Mumford and Sons) or the ever present temptation to check my email, then a few blogs, then my stats, then maybe Facebook , then some more blogs, then my email again.  I cannot tell you how many opportunities to pray and to cultivate a listening heart have been missed because I misdirect a subtle restlessness in my spirit toward some form of entertainment.  And misdirect may be too nice a term, I am really procrastinating because sometimes prayer is like wandering through a desert, and it is really way too easy to give my attentions to something else; something that feels more productive.

 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; Yet though I stooped to feed my child they did not know that I was their healer. Hosea 11: 3-4

And there is much danger for us if we keep allowing distractions to rule us, especially in our culture. We are surrounded by entertainment and luxuries, and they can fool us into thinking we are satisfied, or will be satisfied if we can look like a model, or make lots of money, or receive an honor of some sort.  They can drown out the still, small voice that He speaks with.  And without God we cannot be satisfied.

“They shall eat but not be satisfied, they shall play harlot but not increase.”4:10

Doesn't that sound like our culture?  What a vicious cycle to be in.  Are you in it?  Now is the time to reflect.  What is pulling you away from prayer?  Sometimes, for me, it is that I feel so little during prayer, so I put it off.  Got to check that email first - then that restlessness that keeps telling me that I am too busy to "do nothing" will be satisfied and then I can settle down for prayer.   But, as I described above, we know where that ends for me.  When I realize that I am using that as an excuse to avoid seemingly dry prayer; when I realize that when I push off prayer I push off the Lord, I think of Hosea and how the Lord explained how he would win Israel back and espouse her forever:

So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.  From there I will give her the vineyards she had, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope.  She shall respond there as in the days of her youth, when she came up from the land of Egypt.”2:16

It is in the desert, the place of dryness, the place where I feel like nothing is happening, where I will be able to hear the Lord speak to my heart.  And how mightily I avoid it.  Lent is a time to go into the desert, to endure the deprivation, of a small pleasure, or of one of our many distractions, so that we can hear His voice.  Then Easter we can enter into the joy with a little more freedom and higher sense of what heavenly restoration may be like. So we can eat and be satisfied, we can love and be fruitful.  That is the love that I hope to begin to kindle this Lent.  That is the love story to end all!

 So how do you spend time going deeper into your relationship with Christ during Lent?

Peace and Grace to all!
Heidi


Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.


Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!
Equipping CatholicFamilies: Keep LOVE in LENT

Call Her Happy:40 Simple Lenten Activities for Kids

Lenten Love: Little Acts of Love

Grow the Roses: Keep Love in Lent

Family At The Foot Of The Cross: Loving Service

Catholic Homeschooling Joy: A Lenten Activity

JOY:Keep the Love in Lent

Twenty Tuesday Afternoons: Tuesday # 11: Pancake Tuesday / Keeping Love in Lent

Campfires and Cleats: Why a Failing Lent Really Isn't

Harrington Harmonies: Make a Lenten Holy Hour

A Mommy of Three:Good Deeds for Lent

Loving the Semi Country Life: Lent:special time to reflect and keep the love in lent

Written By the Finger of God: A 7 Step Lenten Plan

Mommy Bares All: Giving Up and Making Space for Love this Lent

The Irish Lassie Shop: Seek God Everywhere

Hand-Maid with Love: Living Lent, Loving Lent

Words On Heaven: IN THE DESERT FOR 40 DAYS

On The Way Home: Keeping LOVE in Lent

Homeschooling with Joy: Keep Love in Lent

Mountain Grace: Keep Love in Lent

Eyes On Heaven: I am Choosing to Live

Joy Alive in Our Hearts:"God's Love at Work"

Life of Fortunate Chances: Love is Fun: Keeping Love in Lent

Fifth of Five: Keep the LOVE in Lent

I Blog Jesus: for Praying our Loud!

Overflow: Loving Lent with Little Ones

This Cross I Embrace: Keep LOVE In Lent

Sole Searching Mamma: 15 Ways to Experience a More Meaningful Lent

Catholic All Year: My Biggest Lent Fails and How I Learned Mortification...

Four Little Ones: Keeping Love in Lent

Gaels Crafty Treasures Keeping Love in Lent

Bear Wrongs Patiently: Lent for the Scrupulous

Rosary Mom: Keeping Love in Lent

LoveLetters 7.10: Teacups {Keeping the Love in Lent}

Little Saints in the Making: Keep Love in Lent

Blessed with Full Hands: Keeping love in Lent- Praise Him

Normal Chaos: Our Own Personalized Lenten Journey

These Little Blessings: Gifting Love this Lent

The Cajun Catholic: The our Father; a lenten reflection

Truly Rich Mom: Keeping Love in Lent... Even When It Is Difficult

GATHERING GRACES:Keeping LOVE in LENT

SaIsa Pang Sulyap - Fullness Of His Love

LiturgicalTime: Keeping Love in Lent - Finding Balance

Grace Loves Iggy: love in lent

Sacred Oysters: Empty (Keeping LOVE in LENT)

Tercets:Make Heart Rosary Decades to Pray for Others

The Diary of a Sower: Our Lenten Prayer Tree

A Living Garden -- Giving for Others with Love: Keeping LOVE in LENT

Homegrown Catholics: Motivated by my childrens' activities {Lent}

MyBroken Fiat: Keeping Love in Lent... Barely

Journey to Wisdom: Keeping Love in Lent: Bands of Love

Softening My Heart: An Anniversary Lesson duringLent

Keeping the Love in Lent: Lots of Love... Inspirations from a 4-year old



7 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful and on target, Heidi!
    I love the truth, as you point out, that the Lord works within our chaos...
    You are a great example of the "apostolate of example," which is one way the Lord works through you (us).
    Blessings, Paul

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this post. I also often "feel so little" during prayer that it causes me not to persevere with it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is so great about the Body of Christ is that we can all take strength and encouragement from each other! Thanks for you comment!

      Delete
  3. Oh wow. A bible reading Catholic. I've subscribed. And your reflection on what draws me from prayer... i'm going to chew on that today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment! And welcome!

      Delete
  4. "Whether it be the TV, ITunes (love to play Mumford and Sons) or the ever present temptation to check my email, then a few blogs, then my stats, then maybe Facebook , then some more blogs, then my email again."

    Are you stalking me?

    ;)

    In all seriousness, you hit the nail on the head with that one. We're so busy going from point A to point B to point C, D and E that it's become automatic. We automatically go through this litany of "stuff" without ever slowing down to give ourselves time to reflect on the truly important things.

    And you're right - when we go into the "desert" and really give God's Voice a chance to resonate, we can't help but be drawn in by His overwhelming compassion.

    Thanks for this. <3 Have a blessed Lent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blessings to you as well! Let us all let His voice resonate! Thanks for the comment!

      Delete

(Comments from Anonymous sources will be reviewed before posting. - The Moderator.)